Oops, they did it again

What an interesting week for UNC-watchers! On Wednesday, the Board of Trustees (BOT) came out firing against the Chancellor's Leadership Advisory Committee, specifically the local elected officials who were invited to be members.

Seems the BOT does not share the Chancellor's faith in Chair Ken Broun's leadership, as they are complaining that too much time is being spent on process and not enough on developing plans. That's funny because according to UNC's own press release, plans were never a part of the committee's, um, plan:

The committee's purpose is to get community input on Carolina North from as broad a range of interests as possible. The committee is being asked to develop principles that will guide the university in preparing plans for submission to the local governing bodies as part of the regulatory process.
- OP: Broun Committee on TV, 2/28/06

So in one swell foop at their meeting this week, the BOT (featuring Meadowmont's Roger Perry) has destroyed any modicum of trust that might have been forged between the town and gown partners, and attempted to change the committee's entire purpose!

Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy was pissed. Foy has repeatedly supported and sometimes even orchestrated the Town's acquiescence to the Chancellor's wishes, this looks to me like more of the same. Did the Mayor think UNC's leaders had suddenly decided to play fair with us, or does he think that UNC's short-term interests are more important than the community's long-term health? I guess the Mayor's public frustration is better late than never, but it's about time he caught up to the rest of the town who have been overwhelmingly electing staunch UNC watchdogs in recent years.

So now the Town Council that reluctantly agreed to participate in UNC's process are being chided for doing what the Chancellor asked. Now, I like to give people (even developers) the benefit of the doubt, but it seems that we can't win. It seems to me that no matter what the Town does, UNC's self-proclaimed boosters will complain that it is not enough. I believe that any amount of local review or discussion of their development plans will simply be decried as "obstruction" of the University's noble mission to serve the great state of North Carolina.

As Will Raymond responded:

Wow! We surely wouldn't want our local elected officials to stand in the way of UNC's urgent desire to use its educational might to “effectively and efficiently … address society's pressing needs and attract jobs and economic activity to the entire state.”

Whoa! Isn't that the same kind of rhetoric we heard about other big ticket (read: expensive tax-payer supported boondoggles) projects like the Kinston's Global Transpark, NCSU's failing Centennial campus and the (currently contentious) Kannapolis North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC).
- Concerned Citizen » Chafing: Prevention and Treatment, 5/25/06

So after the sputtering, outrage, and posturing on both "sides" in the wake of the BOT's surprise resolution, we got the icing on the cake: UNC might seek a new I-40 interchange. Maybe I should be glad - at least this is a change from the recent years where UNC leaders would smile in our face while they stabbed us in the back.

Total votes: 165

Comments

"I think what the town should interpret out of that is there is a very strong sense of urgency about Carolina North and it is time to deal with Carolina North," said trustee Roger Perry. "The time for talking about it and trying to build consensus is coming to an end."

via: News&Observer - Chapel Hill mayor lashes UNC trustees over project

"I believe the voices that choose to be the greatest obstacles to this at the moment will be the voices that have the least impact, in the end," Carter said. {Trustee Rusty Carter}"I believe it will be taken from our hands at some point by the leadership of this state."

via: Hearld Sun - Carolina North panel draws fire

Message received loud and clear: they have asked the state legislature to strip Chapel Hill of zoning authority over UNC, and they'll do it again!

BTW, did I mention that this is a project that is expected to take at least 50 years to build? Most or all of the BOT won't even be here to see it completed. But I probably will, and my kids will be living with it for a long time. What is the rush?

Perry also said it was troubling to him that some people on the committee were "dominating" the group's discussion, while at the same time saying they weren't in a position to say anything on behalf of the council. He declined to say after the meeting exactly to whom he was referring.

"I think anyone who has been to the meetings or watched them knows who has monopolized the conversation," he said. "I don't think it's necessary to name names."

HeraldSun

Dang! Who'll volunteer to drag out the ole stopwatch and peruse the Mar. 2nd, Apr. 6th and May 4th meetings to see who's hogging the mike?

On a slightly more serious note, I've asked for the audio record of the recent BOT meeting to make some excerpts. When (and if) I get it, I'll be posting some further comments on the apparent unfortunate dissolution of the CN-LAC process.

I think both editorials today offer some good advice. The CHN is available at
http://www.chapelhillnews.com/opinion/story/2952637p-9390821c.html

They say, "Some on the university's side apparently think the town agreed to participate but doesn't intend to actually do anything except prevent the committee from making any progress. Some on the town's side apparently think the university invited them to participate but doesn't intend to actually listen to what they have to say.

"For the sake of everybody involved -- which means all of us -- we hope the committee can clear the air and get down to what it's supposed to do."

The CHH's ("Time to lower the Carolina North rhetoric") editorial is not on the web yet, but they say: "Passions are rising about the university's planned campus and what is perhaps most unfortunate is that both sides are saying, 'I told you so.'" In their conclusion they state, "There doesn't have to be serious negotiation at the committee meetings; that's not the point. But there does have to be a sense of goodwill. That's what's most needed now for anything to be accomplished."

My, my, my! 50-70 years! No wonder the BOT is hopping mad. I can just hear them in closed session:

"C'mon, folks, let's get this show on the road! This ain't hard. We just cut a bunch of trees down, grade some roads, and throw up some buildings. Dagnabit, that's how we did it in the good ole days before those gosh darn meddlin' enviro-mentalists came along telling us what to do. What are we fiddlin' with town folks for anyway? Nothing but a buncha yankee carpetbaggers, if you ask me, telling the good people of this great state what they can and cannot do. This here's a state government project, ya hear. They best remember that."

Before anyone gets offended: I'm just having fun.

Thanks for putting this out there, Ruby. We've picked up the thread over at BlueNC.

I think the 50-70 year idea is being put out by UNC to diffuse the opposition. It's a way to encourage people to ignore the process. For many, if they thought Carolina North was that far out, they wouldn't pay much attention.

Folks, when this project gets started, we'll see a lot of changes and development within 5 years. The first phase will likely be very large, and the most visible.

If I recall correctly, UNC recently said that the Polk Place plan was developed in the 1940's, and is just now being finished. That's the part of campus between Cameron and South Road. Most of those building have been there many decades. Likewise, the 50-70 year date for Carolina North is when those last buildings and phases will be chinked in. We'll have Carolina North long before that.

The LAC committee has gone about as badly as it could. I believe Strom and Hill have been less than fully collaborative. Their approach has been more about drawing lines in the sand than trying to engage UNC in a meaningful dialog.

On the other hand, the process has just begun. The LAC is a large group with many interests. The BOT is being very impatient not to let the LAC attempt to work through its difficulties. To react at this early stage by drawing their own line in the sand is a extremely bad move.

Carolina North means a lot to both the town and the university. It would be great if the discussions could be joined more cooperatively on both sides. I hope that's not just wishful thinking. So far, it seems so.

I never thought I'd see the day when a Britney Spears-inspired headline graced the top of OP.

It might be helpful to reflect on what's actually transpired in the first three meetings of the LAC. Here's my take on it.

1) "The committee will help set its own work process" - James Moeser 2/7/06

Without using a stop watch I'd guesstimate that we've spent about half our time - around 3 hours - on process. Considering a group with nearly thirty individuals in total, among them representatives of several organizations, four local government bodies, several university entities, and a couple of state government reps, I don't consider that particularly slow.

2) "sessions will provide an opportunity for the participants to question each other about the project and to have an open exchange of ideas" - James Moeser 2/7/06

The rest of our time - also around 3 hours - has been spent in presentations of principles and discussion thereof. This will continue at this week's meeting. The university's infrastructure report and Chapel Hill's HWCC report are both hefty documents with scores of principles to digest.

3) "It is a university committee, to be appointed by the chancellor, because it is formed for the purpose of giving information to the university -- not for the purpose of reaching any decisions, final or tentative, by the community's governing bodies." - Ken Broun 1/11/06

This was reiterated and agreed to by the LAC in the discussion of our protocols at the first meeting.

Taking the above points together, I would say the LAC is on course and exactly where it should be at the end of three meetings. At a minimum, the glass is half full.

Apparently the membership of the LAC doesn't feel things are going as slowly as the BOT does: at the last LAC meeting we re-affirmed our decision not to meet in July and discussed moving our August meeting to late August or perhaps September. There didn't seem to be any expression of concern that the process wouldn't be completed in a timely manner and, if my memory serves me correctly, it was even suggested at the April meeting that we might finish ahead of schedule given that the LAC appears to be in agreement on about 85% (figure attributed to Ken Broun by Chancellor Moeser) of the issues.

Thanks Dan and George for your "insider" perspectives.

Some of the worry, I think, comes because folk never thought the BOT would buy into the LAC.

The appointment of two BOT members, I thought, was a significant sign (though Winston's and Perry's recent comments kind of undercut my confidence). The BOT's direct participation was supposed to eliminate the kind of surprises we've had over the years (like the 2001 sovereignty debate). To see the BOT at odds with their own creation undermines the LACs credibility.

I also think that Chapel Hill has made some missteps, notably the HWCC dissolution and some public comments that seem a bit "firm" at this point in the process.

That said, I still believe, as said a few months ago, "we're poised for a win-win on CN for the University, the local community and the State as a whole."

If UNC can draft a sensible ROI document for NC's citizens, if the BOT can be a bit patient with the LAC, if our representatives could keep an open-mind (at least until the end of the year), then there's no reason we shouldn't have a great result.

According to someone who was at the BOR meeting, the newspaper misreported the tone of the discussion.

I see this all as such a simple equation. The Horace Williams tract is the LAST large piece of developable land in Chapel Hill. There is no doubt that this "research campus" will change Chapel Hill in every facet, from our evironment to our infrastrucure, from our population to our economy. If UNC and our Town are to have a mutually positive symbiotic relationship, what purpose will it serve to create a development that, in the end, will strangle one of those partners? Isn't there something oxymorinic about foresthought and planning not being respected when designing a RESEARCH center? Or is this all about "follow the money?"
The BOT should hang their heads in shame, and try to remember that there was a time when they may have been young human beings with hopes, ideals, and an individual vision of a future that was not devoid of compassion.
And, lastly, of course this is not a 50 year project. Maybe the last sign will go up then, but you can bet one of those dollars that you are following, that once the University gets going, the Carolina North of THEIR dreams will be choking us in OUR life time-and I'm well into middle age.

Minuets of the current White House occupants in Chapel Hill, not acceptable!

Justin Grimes

Del,
I would rather see the Carolina North as envisioned by some here than another single-dwelling housing project or yet another one-story stripmall. I don't see CN strangling Chapel Hill and if it is done right it could be a much better addition to the town than the sprawland of Eastgate or North Airport Road.

Will,
I have to disagree with one aspect of your post. I think it's a red herring to compare Carolina North to

Kinston's Global Transpark, NCSU's failing Centennial campus and the (currently contentious) Kannapolis North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC).

I am NOT a big fan of the Kannapolis research campus, as I have discussed elsewhere and the Transpark analogy would be akin to Chapel Hill deciding to build a World Beer Park since we have a few local breweries. Centennial campus I am even less familiar with, so I'll pass on that.

My understanding is that Carolina North is going to be, first and foremost, a unique research campus. Research is something that UNC does well, extremely well, so it isn't fair to compare it to Kinston and Kannapolis. Having said that, if this process is left totally to the university I have no doubt that it will end up being a large number of big white buildings like Mary Ellen Jones, Neuroscience Hospital, etc. The University and Town have an opportunity to create a unique research environment that will forever set it apart from other research universities. One, because it has the money to build it; two, because it has the research to sustain it; and, three, because it has town that will force it.

If the town presence is taken away we will end up with big white buildings.

Mark Schultz, edtor of the Chapel Hill News, reported that UNC is targeting the huge amount of money now available for military, bio-warfare, and various post 9-11 pursuits. UNC already has secret bio-warfare research going on and apparently wants more. To me this is the most troubling aspect. We could get Village Project human-scale development with elegant landscaping and transportation plans only to house research on how to more effectively kill people.

The local governments need to ban certain types of activity at CN which could negatively impact the health of the community - physical and spritual health.

There is military research and then there is military research. The whole focused spending on anthrax is complete crap and should be abandoned by the government. Creating bio-weapons is ethically wrong and should be scrapped as well.

Then, there is military research. For instance, the DoD funds research on:
* Breast Cancer
* Prostate Cancer
* Peer Reviewed Medical
* Ovarian Cancer
* Neurofibromatosis
* Tuberous Sclerosis Complex
* Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
* Prion Diseases

I believe the program began to look at breast cancer in female soldiers (males too I assume), then spread into other diseases that effect soldiers. The question could be raised as to why the DoD is funding research at all and shouldn't all this money get transferred to NIH. But, the fact is that they get large sums of money to give out for research into these areas. Thus, I would not shun all military spending, as they are a major funding source for some of these diseases.

Mark,

Once again you put your finger on what is both truly important and ignored.

Unfortunately, too many people see this as a fight over form rather than substance.

Mark Marcoplos,

I don't know what specific research UNC is conducting but I'm sure that UNC researchers, like many others, are going after funds allocated for biodefense since this is about the only area that hasn't suffered significant funding cutbacks under the Bush administration. Biodefense research is not the same as biowarfare research although I'm sure that the military can find ways to exploit the former to advance the latter.

With the advancements made in science coupled to the rapid dispersion of this information it is safe to assume that many radical groups can get their hands on some very nasty biological agents. I believe that the development of safe, efficacious, and cost-effective vaccines against agents such as anthrax, plague, ebola virus and avian influenza (yes, bird flu would make a very effective agent for bioterrorism) is not only desirable, but necessary. And the ability to develop such vaccines will enhance our ability to develop vaccines against currently existing diseases such as malaria (1.5 million deaths/yr), hepatitis (at least 3 million deaths/yr from hep B & C), and HIV (at least 5 million deaths/yr).

So while biodefense and biowarfare research may often travel down similar or identical paths the goals are not the same: biodefense researchers are working hard to save lives and I have no doubt that any biodefense researchers at UNC have that same intended goal for their research. Having said that I still would be concerned about having certain biodefense research located in close proximity to any dense residential or commercial developments.

Robert-
That's the whole point isn't it? Carolina North WILL happen and it DOESN'T have to to strangle Chapel Hill IF it is done right. I don't think that a strip mall or a housing development is the answer at all. I do think that the Town, its citizens, and most importantly, the University should weigh the costs of the project carefully and make well reasoned choices. Plunging ahead can be dangerous and mistakes cannot always be corrected; regret is a demoralizing emotion. Carolina North will be staring us all in the face for generations to come. What do you want to be looking at and experiencing? This is a plea to do it right.

Mark,

I'd like to know what article of Mark S.'s you're referring to, and what research on "how to more effectively kill people" you know is happening at UNC. Mark says nothing of the sort in this article, nor does he even mention bio-warfare:

http://www.chapelhillnews.com/opinion/story/2889199p-9344841c.html

That column doesn't rule such a thing out, but you've extrapolated the worst possible scenario from that article. I, too, have been concerned about the amount of money UNC gets from the DOD, and I've written about it. I also know that there is indeed classified research being conducted at UNC on biological and chemical warfare, but on the subject of countermeasures (vaccines, antidotes, public health practices in the event of attack, and so on.) Mark also wrote about that -- three years ago.

According to scientists who have spoken with me, some of the classified counter-bio-terror/SARS research is taking place at the new Michael Hooker Research Center, at the corner of Manning and S. Columbia. UNC has not been reluctant to say that SARS research and vaccine work is going on at the Hooker Research Center, they've just been reluctant to say how much and what exactly is being funded by DOD.

If you're going to engage in wild speculation based on none of your own research, do it without dragging other people into it, please.

Have a nice day!

Duncan

Del,
Your previous post seemed to suggest you were against Carolina North in any shape. My misunderstanding. I couldn't agree that we need to do it right. You need not go far on campus to find buildings that were done quickly with whatever money was available, in which you can find many faults.

The problem with raising the bogeyman of bio-terror at UNC, especially when it is only based on speculation, is that it prompts visceral reactions that may in the end distract from actual, ongoing UNC-DOD collaborations that are harder to explain (and therefore easier to ignore), but no less disturbing. And in some cases, perhaps more disturbing.

Page through these when you get a chance:

http://www.idb.org/idb/default.aspx

and

http://www.logtech.org/logtech/default.aspx

p.s. Connections between the business school and DOD _is_ something that Mark Schultz mentioned in his column.

Robert, the comparison to the Transpark, Centennial Campus, the new NCRC - heck, even the Dell deal - is one of the various "promises" made of their state-wide benefits. These mega-projects, at some point, were proclaimed to be a huge benefit to the NC taxpayer but the payoffs promised have not been forthcoming. I'm suggesting the BOT tone down the rhetoric, spell out the first 3-7 years of expected investments, give us a reasonable expectation on ROI and move off the stale old claims (claims made as far back as '93).

As far as biodefense, I wouldn't go as far as saying "one man's Sverdlovsk is another man's biodefense facility" (though the USSR did when caught breaking the Biological Weapons Convention) but there are reasonable concerns, highlighed by recent problems in Boston and Galveston, with siting biodefense labs in folks neighborhods.

Robert Peterson writes above: "You need not go far on campus
to find buildings that were done quickly with whatever money
was available"

I could not agree more, especially with the two decades of
purely utilitarian planning that resulted in the current
buildings that form our health affairs complex. I think that
today, more thought is going into the buildings and their
environs, but it is a little too late because the constraints
are already there. Simply look at the large research buildings
that start with Thurston-Bowles and go southward along
South Columbia. Tragically there was so little regard for
the neighborhood across the street, and even less
regard for outdoor human space near those buildings.

One of the statements by the Horace Williams Citizens'
Committee is that the committee is concerned that
ad hoc building will occur on the CN site before the
planning and infrastructure is finished, due to money that is available
now. We almost saw it happen when the FPG center was
ready to build a "New School" on the site right now, and
would have if the CH-Carr school system had not
turned down their offer of collaboration.

My critique is not of the work that occurs
in these buildings. I am proud of it and equally
proud to be a tiny part of it during my career. However
the physical plant leaves much to be desired, and
hopefully the same mistakes can be avoided at CN.

Robert, Del never said anything that implied she was against Carolina North. She's talking about some problems with the current process.

This is my biggest frustration - any time somone expresses concerns about it, the self-appointed UNC boosters seem to switch their ears off and only hear "anti-Carolina North, blah blah blah." Unless this stops, there will be no way to have a productive conversation about to do it right for everyone.

That's funny Ruby. Because it seems to me that anytime anyone expresses concern that the whole process is a bunch of whooey, the self-appointed town boosters switch off their ears and say things like "your view seems one-sided".
I've already replied to Del that I misunderstood her when she said:

...The Horace Williams tract is the LAST large piece of developable land in Chapel Hill. There is no doubt that this “research campus” will change Chapel Hill in every facet, from our evironment to our infrastrucure, from our population to our economy. If UNC and our Town are to have a mutually positive symbiotic relationship, what purpose will it serve to create a development that, in the end, will strangle one of those partners?

As for switching off my ears:

...I couldn't agree that we need to do it right. You need not go far on campus to find buildings that were done quickly with whatever money was available, in which you can find many faults.
Comment at 9:23am 5/30/2006 by Robert Peterson

...Having said that, if this process is left totally to the university I have no doubt that it will end up being a large number of big white buildings like Mary Ellen Jones, Neuroscience Hospital, etc. The University and Town have an opportunity to create a unique research environment that will forever set it apart from other research universities. One, because it has the money to build it; two, because it has the research to sustain it; and, three, because it has town that will force it.

If the town presence is taken away we will end up with big white buildings.
Comment at 6:24am 5/30/2006 by Robert Peterson

To get back to the subject at hand, I love the Village Project. While I have been going through the file posted online, I'm wondering if Ruby could host a streaming version of the recorded presentation? I would love to hear the project described by its creators.
What a place! The village is great, even the Core with the idea of modern architecture and high-rise buildings. I love it.
Comment at 3:54pm 8/4/2005 by Robert Peterson

Now, if closed ears means not having a knee-jerk reaction that everything UNC does is bad, bad, bad as some town-boosters do, then I guess I have closed ears. If it means not listening to both sides and wanting to create something unique not just within Chapel Hill, but world-wide, then I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

Who are the self-appointed UNC boosters who seem to switch their ears off and only hear “anti-Carolina North, blah blah blah?”

Hamlet Act III Scene 4: "Come, come, and sit you down. You shall not budge; You go not till I set you up a glass..."

If anybody would like a DVD copy of The Village Project presentation made last June, please let me know. We can make you a copy, probably for free. (or a very nominal fee to cover duplication/mailing costs if there are suddenly many requests)

Thanks Ruby,for realizing that I have accepted the reality of Carolina North and am hoping against hope that it actually does enhance Chapel Hill. The only way to do that is to respect the process for evaluating the negative effects so that they can be avoided. Denigrating the process and implying that it is an obstacle is what will create a huge mistake.

Del has pegged one of the greatest opportunities Carolina North presents UNC and the citizens of NC.

"Green" should be a core value of CN's mission and a core product of CN's labs.

By "evaluating the negative effects so that they can be avoided", UNC can not only implement and study current "best in class" mitigation techniques but also use these negatives to drive development of new, world-class mitigation strategies.

"Green" is absolutely a growth industry - an industry with great economic and social upside.

UNC has a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a 1,000 acre research site to study the effects of development over a 100 year cycle. CN's development could yield more than parking spaces, classrooms, housing, biodefenses or expensive pharma - it could drive UNC to excel in one area, "green tech", that is still wide open and, as the oceans rise and the temperatures soar, will be in greater and greater demand.

Maybe a bit visionary, but isn't that what the citizens of NC expect and deserve from our premier research institution?

Del,
Maybe I'm just missing something - I mean that seriously, I am probably just missing something here, so help me out. The current process has UNC running a Committee upon which CH and CB representatives sit. That board seems to be at internal odds about what exactly it is supposed to be doing. UNC seems to think this board will hash out a proposal that will be approvable by CH, and CH/CB seem to think it will develop principles around which UNC will create a proposal. Those are two very different goals.

So, while either board alone is a good idea, I think it does no one any good to have one board trying to do both against each other. Whooey. Moreover, it does seem obvious that before you start planning this type of major construction, you would need an operating set of principles. No matter what scale you are working on that is a given.

The BOT quotes in the article are just....bad. Perhaps someone from the University should notify them that the job of the committee was not to build Carolina North or to sketch out the individual buildings, but to set up the principles that would define it.

What I am opposed to is the undercurrent of opposition to Carolina North as a general idea. That is where I stand, I am in favor of a great Carolina North, not any Carolina North, but a great Carolina North. Someone mentioned the First School, I saw the same knee-jerk response when that was mentioned, assuming UNC had some grand design all planned out and just wanted to move CH out of the way. In that case I spoke to people intimately involved in the First School design and they were quick to point out that they had no set plans, just a first draft.

The thread of this discussion started out as a reaction to comments made by members of the BOT. I agree with you, those comments WERE bad...but, were they intentional? BOTs are not children, they are people who are accomplished and experienced, so are we to believe that this was a faux pas of sorts? Or, was this a message to the Committee to cut to the quick and let's start the building?
Is it disingenuous to say that the comment by Trustee Rusty Carter:
“I believe the voices that choose to be the greatest obstacles to this at the moment will be the voices that have the least impact, in the end,” Carter said. {Trustee Rusty Carter}“I believe it will be taken from our hands at some point by the leadership of this state.”
to be incendiary, to say the least?

The undercurrent of opposition you are sensing toward Carolina North is not toward CN, but towards the prospect of a project that fails to approach what it should be. The flagship campus of the a great University should be able to create the new standard to look up to.
How do you explain a plan that calls for 17,000 parking spaces?
And that, Robert, is the antipathy that you are picking up.

Robert, I personally agree 100% with what you said: "I am in favor of a great Carolina North, not any Carolina North, but a great Carolina North." I apologize if I ever gave the impression that I felt otherwise. I have long felt this way, and said so in my application to Chapel Hill's Horace Williams Committee in 2002.

In fact, I think you will find that most people in town agree. Del points out exactly why there is a real concern among so many of us that UNC is not working to make CN the best it could be.

Will,

You know, it's not like the university is living in the dark ages. If you would like to see what we've been doing, here's a link to last year's sustainability report:

http://sustainability.unc.edu/office/News/UNC%20Campus%20Sustainability%...

And then there's the new visitors center being planned at the Botanical Gardens:

http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/may06/gardensgift052306.htm

The Waste reduction and recycling staff are outstanding:
http://sustainability.unc.edu/index.asp?Type=M

Then there's the plans for Morrison and the new Global Education Center, and what has been done with the Carrington renovation and Ramshead.

And of course, there's also the fact that we've reduced water consumption by 18% PER CAPITA since 2002 through public education, new guidelines for irrigation, the installation of waterless urinals, and this year we've begun installing dual-flush toilets. And oh yeah--there's that whole water reuse program with OWASA, the cost of which is being born by the university and not one public official or writer on OP has acknowledged and thanked either OWASA or UNC for.

I am not in favor of Carolina North, but the continued implication that UNC is not environmentally proactive is just totally unfounded. Green building and environmentalism are alive and thriving at UNC--in the classroom as well as in our facilities design and services.

Terri

Terri , I absolutely agree that UNC has the talent and shows the will, more and more of late, to develop in a "green" fashion. I'm suggesting a broader effort, more like a coalescing vision, to make building, studying, deploying, measuring "green" one of the core principles of CN's mission.

I think you'll agree that, in spite of the efforts you've listed, what passes for CN's mission statement is "light" on clear, measurable, organizing principles - environmental or otherwise. Biotech? What kind of biotech? The kind we'll have to compete with Kannapolis on? Or biodefense? Or, maybe, measurable "green" technologies?

Right Will-and this whole project is centered on thousands of people driving in from everywhere...it will hard to see the green for the smog!
What happens if gas prices continue to rise (not a terrible proposition in my mind-it's the only way some people are "getting it") and Carolina North is built but enough of the employees, academia, even retail shop owners just can't show up to keep it all going? What will the fiscal equity effect be on the town ?

A note about FPG and the First school proposal(s)...
The school district has NOT turned down FPG First School proposal! On the contrary, the BOE will consider two options in the fall- whether to site the school next to Seawell or incorporate a FPG pre-K program into an existing elementary school.

If FPG and UNC does build First School, it will be on CN property.

Del, excellent points.

The VillageProject design seems driven by locating folk on-site to avoid generating that smog.

UNC's last CN proposal didn't show anything like that comprehensive initiative for green design.

As I've said before (and Terri just underlined), UNC has the talent and resources to go far beyond the "same old, same old" but they can't seem to tap into their innate creativity. Maybe I'm giving UNC too much credit, but I think if challenged appropriately - say by the BOT making "green" a core principle of CN - UNC would rise to the challenge.

An example of an extemporaneous suggestion arising out of UNC for CN was using the methane produced by the old 35 acre
landfill to produce energy/heat on-site. Great orthogonal idea. Every idea on CN should show the same or greater level of forward thinking.

Transit aside, more generally, I don't think the most predictable of macroeconomic events have been accounted for, at least from what I've seen, in UNC's CN proposal.

That's not too uncommon.

The muni-networking Brian, Terri, etc. are working on is partially about meeting foreseeable macroeconomic challenges - like limited mobility. We're trying to get our Town to meet that coming challenge, and many others like it, by being technologically proactive.

Of course, the Town doesn't have the kind of resources UNC will deploy for CN - so we'll have to be smarter, cheaper and even more strategic in our thinking.

Green is a growth industry - maybe rivaling the great .COM bubble - it seems like UNC's BOT should incorporate it into CN's goals.

Marc, public schools is one of the big selling points on UNC's CN site:

Carolina North will be the site for First School, a unique education experience for children ages three through second grade. This innovative, public program, created by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, is designed to prepare young children for maximum school success and bridge achievement gaps early.

Will,
I've always thought your idea of zero parking (except handicapped and shipping of course) were a grand vision. Along with everythign else, this could provide a huge number of walking commuters and new bus users. This new bolus of users, in turn, could help expand our system into something everyone feels comfortable using. The many cross-county transit ideas that were bandied about at the first OUTBOARD meeting could come to fruition in such a plan.

Thanks Robert, I hope it's an idea still in-play.

Do you think this CN transport idea will fly?

Will,

I'm glad to hear that your recognize all the great progress UNC is making in the area of environment protection and green building. It's too bad that the tone of so many discussions about CN doesn't reflect that recognition.

As I said last night, I still don't support the concept of CN, but I do support the goal of the university to become an engine of social equity across the state (with focus on education and health care). How the university and the community work together to provide UNC with the means to achieve their statewide goals without having a negative impact on the local community is, IMHO, the most important discussion we will ever have as a local progressive community.

I don't know what was really said in the BOT meeting, but I'd like to see the citizen side of the discussions take a less negative tone toward the university. Let's try and regain a position of trust on both sides of this discussion.

Terri

Well said, Terri. It sure would be great if we could achieve it. The irony in this current iteration is that it seems that the chancellor and the mayor are struggling with the same problem. They both seem to want to achieve positive outcomes, but the chancellor has a BOT and the mayor has Council members who aren't all on their same page. I hope that all of the players will see the folly in the current situation and will move on to a next - and more positive chapter.

re Will's CN transport idea: It may or may not work, depends on the supply of hot air at UNC and Chapel Hill. I suspect it's like solar and wind power. Sometimes there's going to be an ample supply other times there will be outages

Strom said the trustees' vote could create more tension among delegates.

"Any time the university threatens to undermine the town's zoning authority, it adds a toxic element into relations," said Strom.

June 1st HeraldSun

It'll be interesting to see if there's any fallout from last week's BOY surprise.

Next meeting of the Leadership Advisory Committee will be on June 1, 2006, at 4 p.m. in room 204 of the Kenan Center.

Did anyone attend? How about the skinny?

I was there along with many recognizable faces. Unfortunately, I had to leave early for Planetarium camp orientation ;)
The discussion seemed very polite. Mark Chilton brought up transportation and that subject dominated the conversation from that point onward, which is a good thing.
Chilton - (paraphrasing horribly) Carrboro and Chapel Hill believe that walking/biking/public transportation should be the major form of travel to and from Carolina North.
Strom - (really paraphrasing) I agree.
UNC - (same) If it is financially feasible, but we don't have the data in front of us to make that commitment at this time.
Jacobs - Let's put forth the statement: Carolina North will be primarily served by walking/biking/public transportation. Then, see if we can prove it is feasible.

It was at about this time that I had to leave, well, after everyone repeated their point of view two or three times.

A note about the words of Dr. Gerber (sp? those tags are really small). I agree and disagree with him and want to add some perspective.
First, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Carolina North is about creating a unique, great research environment. But, we are not behind schedule unless the plan is to schlock together a bunch of crappy buildings. As to his words concerning public transportation. He mentioned he was a transplant surgeon and researcher. The reality of public transportation is that it is unrealistic for some individuals - transplant surgeons among them. I doubt he has considered riding the bus even once. "Oh, I'll be right in to do that kidney transplant. The V bus comes in 30 minutes and it will take about 30 minutes after that, so see you in an hour."
On the other hand, many scientists I work with live and die by the bus system or wish they could (mostly Europeans). Not to be too blunt, but I don't think we should leave the future of transit in the hands of folks who have parking spaces for their Benzes right outside their office walls. If anything, they need more input from people who actually have to use the bus system to get to UNC, like staff and students and myself.
I hope the final decision was to have the mayors, barry, UNC, and BOT sit down, figure out who to pay to do the proper transit plan, and then do it. That would be an excellent outcome?
Anyone who was able to stay until the end?

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